I love sports. But not watching - I've got to be on the field. In high school in El Salvador I played goalie on our soccer team and did all of the track and field events.
My most memorable event was the 100 meter hurdles. The coach put me in at the last minute in an inter-school meet and gave me one instruction, No matter what: don't look back!
I was ahead of the well-establish local champion and a friend when I heard a noise as if she had fallen over a hurdle. Of course, I glanced back, slowing down in the process, only to see her zoom past me to win.
Need I say that I seldom look back now?
In my native country only the richest families indulged in tennis. The idea of just anyone going to a tennis court to find an instructor was unheard of. Your were either in the circle of the infamous "Fourteen Familes" or you weren't. Arriving in the US in 1961 with two children and soon to have number three, and needing to work for a living left little time to even think about simple sports, to say nothing of tennis. It wasn't until my children were grown and out on their own that I finally saw the chance to pursue my dream of tennis. I had just turned 50.
I found classes being given at Oakland, California's Clarmont Hotel and attended for a year. A fellow student recommended lessons in Berkeley's Strawberry Canyon as my husband was a U. C. Berkeley employee, giving me access to the Strawberry Canyon Recreation Area. It was there that I met "The Kensington Group," women from literally around the world: Belgium, China (by way of Germany), El Salvador, France, Germany, Spain and the USA (Chicago).
We played Saturday and Sundays for nearly 10 years, when my husband and I moved to nearby Walnut Creek in 1997. I continued to go to Kensignton on Saturdays for a couple of years until local events required my time at home.
Here is a page of photos of us not playing tennis, but simply enjoying each other's company. Unfortunately, the years have attenuated our numbers.
And another page with a collection of articles about my Rossmoor USTA and BALL team playing.
Practicing the 1-meter jump - 1950
The Oakland Claremont, courts in foreground
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Last update: August, 2011. Comments or questions?